Surveys in Senegal by LPO (BirdLife in France) have revealed a single roost containing over 28,600 Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni and 16,000 African Swallow-tailed Kite Chelictinia riocourii – one of the largest bird of prey roosts ever found.
“One evening, I saw the passage of some 300 birds flying over,” said Philippe Pilard of LPO, who discovered the site in January 2007. “The next evening I saw 1,300 falcons fly over. I therefore decided to follow them, which was only possible on foot.”
“I first walked 10 kilometres -even crossing rivers by canoe- and finally found the Lesser Kestrel roost, along with the African Swallow-tailed Kites.”
The existence of communal roosts during the non-breeding season -sometimes involving several thousand individuals- has been observed in a number of different countries including Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. However conservationists have described this enormous roost -altogether some 45,000 insectivorous raptors- as exceptional.
The numbers of roosting Lesser Kestrel at this site are thought to represent more than half of the known breeding populations of western Europe and northern Africa combined. The roost likely held individuals from Morocco, Spain, Portugal and France.
Wintering birds in Senegal: here.
June 2010. Sharp eyes and attention to detail have again paid off with the discovery of a Greater Kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) in Termit (Niger), the very first record for all of West Africa. The bird was spotted and photographed by project leader, Thomas Rabeil, and his team on February 16, 2010, during regular wildlife monitoring work. Unlike anything they had seen before, photos of the bird were sent to several world renowned bird experts, including Ron Demey and Nik Borrow, authors of the definitive Field Guide to the Birds of West Africa, Tim Wacher (Birds of the Gambia and Senegal), and Joost Brouwer and Ulf Liedén of the online Niger Bird Database. Greater Kestrel was their unanimous response: here.
American kestrels in Yukon: here.